“Don’t let your mouth write checks you’re a** can’t cash” — that captures my experience with T-Mobile thus far.
Ever since I saw John Legere announce the T-Mobile “un-carrier” campaign I have been anxiously watching T-Mobile with the hope they will instigate positive changes in the mobile telecom space.
AT&T on the other hand has proven to me over the last two decades as a customer they have agility and customer service of ol’ Ma Bell. The silly games they play, even with their most lucrative customers, are abhorrent, and the pricing strategies they apply are nothing less than usurious.
That’s why when I saw the latest round of the “un carrier” campaign I decided to switch; conveniently this announcement was aligned with the release of the iPhone 6 which I wanted to get anyways.
I, like many got up early to place my pre-order online, setting my alarm to go off right when the pre-orders began, I tried for an hour and a half to place an order but the T-Mobile site kept timing out.
Writing this experience off to poor capacity planning, I went to bed and woke up a few hours later to try again – things were no better.
Over the next several days I continued to attempt to place an order getting to various points in the order workflow before the site would time-out and I would have to start over again.
I managed twice to sign the IUP with them via DocuSign, the last time actually completing the order. This was literally the fourth day and who knows how many attempts later.
I knew I would not be in the first rounds of the iPhone deliveries but I was not in any big hurry, I was just relieved my order was placed and soon I would no longer be under the thumb of the AT&T. To top things off I was going to save money each month!
Two days later my excitement was crushed as I received an email from T-Mobile instructing me to call them as there was a problem with my order. The next day I found the time to call them back (after holding for about 30 minutes) and was told the mail was sent in error and my order was fine — in-fact I could expect my phones within the week!.
A week passes and I get a phone call from T-Mobile, apparently there is in-fact a problem with my order and I need to cancel my order and place a new one. The woman I spoke to quickly cancels my existing order and begins to place a new one, after about an hour of problems with the ordering system she informs me she will not be able to place my order and will transfer me to someone else, I am told two of several of phones are in stock and that once my order is placed they will be held until the remaining ones are in stock, I am told more phones are a week out and that this new person will flag my order for overnight shipping once it is placed.
The new person also struggles with their ordering system, it takes him about 45 minutes to place the order, he does not put over night shipping on the order and informs me my order will be fulfilled in 3 weeks.
At this point I am not thrilled but as long as I get the phones before my sons birthday in the end of October I will be satisfied. After I sign the IUP for this new order several days pass with no confirmation of my order so I call to try to verify the status of my order, apparently they can see my order but can not give me any status.
The next day I get an email with an order number and a link where I can check my order, I begin checking this page almost every day.
On the first day I see in-fact two phones are in and they are waiting for the last one; the page indicates these two phones will be held until the remaining phone is in. Several days later those two phones have apparently been re-allocated all are marked as expected on or before the end of the next week.
A day or two later I see one phone is in and the next none.
This process continues for a few days, shipping dates moving in and out occasionally the order having one or more phones in stock to having none.
Nearly a month has passed, the current date of delivery is the day after my sons birthday. My sons birthday arrives and now the final date moves into November, again a single phone is showing in stock and the order is being held until the rest arrive. Again the next day they all show as being expected in November.
To be clear this is not a post from a customer complaining about not having the iPhones they ordered, this is a customer complaining about how disorganized, under prepared and apparently under invested T-Mobile is in their internal software systems let along their network which everyone knows is not as good as AT&Ts.
In their defense they are the cheaper solution, in my case I would save $20 / mo or $240 / yr by switching to them but is it worth it? As a general rule the absolute best experience you have with a service provider is the one you have before you’re a customer and this has been a miserable experience.
Realistically based on the way they are handling fulfillment it also seems the only way I will get these phones is if I go into a T-Mobile or Apple store and get them myself as their fulfillment system as implemented will keep me at the end of the line since I have several phones on order.
As for the un-carrier campaign, I think John Legere gets where the future is at and the direction he is pushing his company is the right one but unless this is paired with significant improvements in the technology the company is based on its not much more than a marketing message.